Thursday, January 1, 2009

Scout Kitty Update & Phil Spector Retrial Status

Scout Kitty Update

On Tuesday, Scout got the last of his stitches removed. Here you can see how his incision is doing. It's healing nicely.

He kept tearing up the stretchy bandage trying to get to his wound area that we finally removed it. After that, he proceeded to pull out as many of his stitches that he could reach. His sneezing and watery eyes cleared up just like the vet said they would. However, he did pass the virus onto Jumpy since they do like to sleep near each other in the office beds.

Jumpy is now on the tail end of his sneezing and watery eyes. He should be over that in another few days. Scout is slowly adapting to being an inside kitty. He still tells us on a daily basis he wants to go out but the good news is he is now playing on the monster cat tree where he used to avoid it. Again, thank you so much to all of you that were so generous and made a donation to help cover the cost of Scout's operation.

Phil Spector Retrial: Where the case stands

Before court broke for the holidays Dr. Pena was still on the stand under his first cross examination. As court ended, Judge Fidler ruled that there would be a "402 hearing" which is a type of hearing outside the presence of the jury. Weinberg did not feel that a 402 hearing was "a good idea" but Fidler over ruled him.

Dr. Pena's testimony is in a holding pattern because the defense is arguing that they should be allowed to cross him on MOD (manner or "mode" of death) even though the prosecution did not present any evidence about that. Truc Do just asked him questions on the autopsy itself and COD (cause of death). The defense also wants to question Dr. Pena on "psychological autopsy" and what went on in the many department meetings from the time of the autopsy, to the time he finally determined a MOD, many months later.

The prosecution is fighting this. When court resumes on Jan 5th at 9:00 am, motions will be heard on how far the scope of the cross can go and the psychological autopsy issue will also be resolved. Fidler has tentatively stated that any mention of a psychological autopsy may not come in. Fidler is waiting for the defense to complete their motion on the issue. Once that is resolved Dr. Pena will take the stand and will be asked questions by Weinberg outside the presence of the jury. Fidler will rule on a question by question basis whether or not Weinberg can ask those questions in front of the jury.

Once all that is settled there could possibly be a redirect and recross of this witness.

Once he is off the stand the prosecution has three more witnesses. They are going to call a witness they used in their rebuttal case last time, Dr. John Andrews. They are also going to call one of the forensic fingerprint analysts at the Los Angeles Co. Sheriff's Dept., Dale S. Falicon. Then last, Dr. Lynn Herold. Dr. Herold will be the witness that puts Spector's white ladies jacket within 2 to 3 feet of the gun being fired. (Incidentally, Michelle Blaine has stated on her blog that the white jacket was hers and was part of a skirt and jacket suit set.)

If things go smoothly, all that could take four days, maybe five. Then the prosecution rests and the defense puts on their case. It wasn't until one day before the holiday break was to commence that the defense was willing to "hand over" their "real list" of witnesses verses the "fake list." Weinberg has stalled the entire trial despite the many requests by the prosecution. He was legally within his rights, but most attorneys will let the other side know what witnesses they are going to call from their big list; Weinberg just chose not to be accommodating to the prosecution. You could call this one of Weinberg's "gamesmanship" tactics.

I can't wait to find out if Weinberg "did" turn over to the prosecution his discovery on Dr. Seiden, the suicidologist as ordered. He was supposed to do that by the end of the day, Dec 23rd, the day he was up in the Bay area, representing Dr. Ayres, on trial for child molestation. You can read up on the status of Weinberg's other client, here.

Considering the typical delays, this trial is proceeding ahead. If you have any extra time off over the holidays, there are plenty of seats in the courtroom. The Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center is an older building built in the 1960's. It's located at 210 W. Temple and takes up the entire block between Broadway and Main Street. Judge Fidler's courtroom is on the 9th floor, Department 106. After you clear the 9th floor security area, turn to your left. 106 is at the very end of the hall on the far right. Fidler usually starts his court at 9:30 am. Court is scheduled to start on January 5th at 9:00 am to hear motions outside the presence of the jury.

Where to Park: Most parking within a block west or south of the courthouse runs about $16 to $18.00 for all day. There are two $9.00 a day lots two and a half blocks directly south. One is on the west side of Main Street and the other is on the west side of Broadway.

Public Transportation: If you are near a Metro rail or subway line I highly recommend taking public transportation. The courthouse is one block away from the Civic Center station on the Red Line. When you exit the red line, head for the Temple Street escalators. Once you reach the street, walk through the Court of Flags plaza and down the steps in the center of Broadway. You will clearly see the rear entrance to the building from the stairs.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that Scout Kitty is turning into a "house" cat and healing up nicely.

Re the Spector trial, it sounds overall a lot more streamlined, and for the jury that's a good thing --as they don't get bogged down in a lot of things to sidetrack them. At least I hope so.

As only Weinberg is the defense "team" now, I think no matter what, he won't have the same amount of stamina as the previous team, disorganized and irritating as they were. And then again he's also defending Ayres so preparing for that case must take up a bit of his time. Let's hope this streasmlining of the case makes the course of justice run smoother.

Wish I could drop in on the trial in LA, but sadly live too far away.

Re Judge Larry Fidler, I believe he is a judge who knows and respects the law. I think his main motivation is to run a fair trial and he seems to remain a good arbitrator between the two sides.

I've already made up my mind as to Spector's guilt from the first trial, and only hope that there will now be some justice for this tragic killing. We must not forget that were it not for that peculiar circumstance of Lana Clarkson after a night of work agreeing to go to Phil's fabulous mansion for a drink -- I would strongly think motivated by the hopeful connection she might make with him for her career-- that she would be going on today in her career path, wherever that might lead her. If not stardom then something else. Particularly during midlife crisis we seem to realize a lot of goals will not be fulfilled. 99% of people don't get what they want or dream of in life, but they go on and eventually find that what they did get is a rich experience.

liz said...

Hi Sprocket - thanks for the updates - always useful and appreciated. I am somewhat bemused by the fact that a couple of times when legalities are being discussed, Spector has not been present. This is the defendant! I am amazed that there is any time during a trial when the defendant does not have to appear (excluding those cases when it may be deemed dangerous and/or they appear via video).

Is he likely to be absent for the next session without jury?

Sprocket said...


Re California law, every defendant has the right to waive their appearance for hearings outside the presence of the jury. As long as they are not needed to approve the extension of the case (continuing to waive their right to a speedy trial, etc.). Spector takes full advantage of this right. Spector was there for all the pretrial hearings, IIRC.

Understand the defendant is not needed for the attorneys to argue points of law and what evidence is going to be admissible.

Anonymous said...

Nice summation, Sprocket.

Someone at the Ayres hearing asked the prosecutor Melissa McKowan if she had read your blog and she said she had, a couple of times.

Weinberg was admonished by the judge in the Ayres case for his stalling tactics.

Looking forward to reading more about the case.

shari said...

Hi Sprocket, glad to see Scout Kitty doing well and acting like a typical kitty haha Are you getting any feelings yet as to how the prosecution is doing as well as the defense? I sure hope this trial gives the Clarkson family some justice. I love your great synopsis of the "goings on" in this whole thing. It sounds , by your descriptions, that PS may becoming a bit more frail and sickly?? Am I right? I do wonder also if Ms. Rachelle thinks she's going to inherit the "big bucks" if she hangs in there and will be in for a big surprise. The only thing she will inherit is alot of bills and a skanky murder house. Thanks for keping us up on all this. Take care and looking forward to your coverage of the trial. S.

Anonymous said...

Another good description of Weinberg and his courtroom tactics can be found at Written by a victim in the Ayres case who observed Weinberg in action last week.

whimsical brainpan said...

Glad that Scout Kitty is healing nicely.

I am looking forward to the Spector retrial. Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Sprocket! And thank you for that update! Glad to Scout is getting healthier!
Looking forward to tomorrow's report!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sprocket,
I am a big fan of your blog. I was excited to learn that there is plenty of seating at the trial. I am tempted to come down. Two questions: does one have to be there right at the beginning of the day, or can one come in mid-day? Also, what is the policy on babies? Are they allowed in the courtroom?
Thanks and maybe I'll see you there soon, Tim

Sprocket said...

Anon @10:02 pm:

People can arrive anytime. You just have to enter the courtroom very quietly. Regarding Babies: I would recommend calling the courtroom and asking Judge Fidler's clerk. You can get the number off the website.

I would go to this link:

(link put on two lines so the entire link will show up on blogger)

And type in Larry Fidler's name and it will bring up the phone number to his courtroom. Wendy his clerk, is usually there by 8:30 am.